Coral Bay is a very popular tourist spot
around 1130kms north of Perth and is the southern gateway to the Ningaloo Reef. It provides crystal clear waters for snorkeling, where you can view tropical fish over coral reefs within metres from the shoreline. Other tourist activities include: whale watching, kayak hiring and coral viewing tours on glass bottom boats. The town is like many small towns in remote areas - self maintained. It uses electricity from a wind-diesel hybrid system and has fuel facilities and shopping outlets. In regard to accommodation, there are resorts, cabins, caravan parks and plenty of holiday homes for hire. Bookings for any of these would be essential during peak times.
This trek takes you from Joondalup - a northern suburb of Perth, travelling predominantly on the Brand Highway and the North West Coastal Highway - both of which lie on Route Number 1. As you head north, you may want to consider stopping at towns like: Eneabba, Dongara, Geraldton and Carnarvon. Some nice scenic spots to consider would be Coronation Beach and Gladstone Scenic Lookout.
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This trek traverses through the magnificent Batavia Coast which covers a little south of Eneabba - namely Greenhead and Leeman all the way to Kalbarri to the north. From the Brand Highway on the Greenough Flats, view and photograph these unique leaning trees with horizontal trunks created by salt laden winds off the Indian Ocean.
Along the coast, there are many relatively unspoilt beaches, dune systems, and impressive coastal cliffs. The coastal foredune vegetation includes grasses and shrubs such as Spinifex longifolius and Olearia axillaris. Areas with sand over sallow rock support quite dense acacia and banksia tall shrubland, with the distinctive smelling Acacia rostellifera and Melaleuca cardiophylla forming thickets on limestone ridges.
Some of the fauna you may encounter are euros, red and western grey kangaroos and rock wallabies. Emus are frequently seen on the sand-plains while over 170 bird species may be seen, including 17 species of seabirds. The coastal lands are important for the conservation of heath-dwelling mammals, including dibblers and dunnarts.
While the eucalypts typify the Australian landscape, the shrub and heath plants provide the greatest spectacle in springtime when, in full bloom, they paint the countryside a mosaic of colour. The heath-lands are important as habitat for fairy-wrens and honeyeaters, and salt lakes and wetlands support waders and ducks.
The History of Mauds Landing, Bills Bay and Coral Bay
The history of any European settlement
in this area begins at Mauds Landing which is three kilometers north of Coral Bay. It was in 1884 that the schooner ‘Maud’ had landed, hence the town being officially named Mauds Landing in 1915. Up until 1947, the settlement here played an important role in supporting other small towns in the North West of Western Australia
as well as the import/export of supplies, wool and sheep.
After the hard work was done, the tranquil bay south of Mauds Landing provided a nice destination to unwind. This bay was named Bills Bay by Charles French as an ode to his wife Ruby May French who was affectionately called ‘auntie Billie’. The French family owned Cardabia Station which is the property that surrounds this area.
The first holiday shack was built in Bills Bay in 1933 by Jack McKenna - the manager of Mia Mia station and had used this shack as a summer retreat. The bay was always known to be a popular destination for its recreational activities and it was not until 1968 that formal settlement began with the Coral Bay Hotel. The name ‘Coral Bay’ suited the little community due to the surrounding coral reefs and soon the settlement in Bills Bay took on this name.